Arvin Golic, considered the mastermind of a May 2015 stabbing in Whistler that left a Burnaby teen dead, has been found guilt of manslaughter.
Golic, who was 18 years old at the time, was accused of planning the swarming attack of Luka Gordic. According to media reports, the judge said there was no evidence Golic planned to murder the 19-year-old.
“In summary, there’s no evidence from which I can conclude that the only reasonable inference is that Mr. Golic planned to have Mr. Gordic killed and that he participated in the attack with the requisite intent for murder, even as a co-principal or as an aider or abettor,” said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Mary Humphries, as reported by the Vancouver Sun.
The judge added that Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Golic planned to kill Gordic, or recruited his friends to do so, or that he knew knives would be used in the attack.
Humphries did note it was clear Golic intended to harm Gordic, however, and that he participated in the attack, punching Gordic. The court heard that Golic was angry because Gordic had told a friend of the accused that he was abusive to his ex-girlfriend.
Members of the Gordic family in attendance expressed frustration that Golic was acquitted of second-degree murder, and were reportedly heard yelling at the parents of the accused as they left the courtroom.
Gordic’s uncle, Gianni Buono, told reporters outside the Vancouver court that he was “totally disappointed” in the verdict, according to the Sun. He felt there was enough circumstantial evidence to prove Golic planned to murder his nephew.
The stabbing took place during Whistler’s notorious May long weekend holiday, when scores of Burnaby teens visited the resort to celebrate their impending high-school graduation.
Following a dispute, Gordic was jumped by up to 15 people near Marketplace, overwhelmed and able to defend himself, before the group quickly dispersed. Golic, along with three others who cannot be named because they were minors at the time of the incident, were arrested. The three young men were tried separately and await a verdict on June 29.
Golic is due to appear in court on June 21 to set a date for sentencing.